A common refrain I hear from students is “drawing backgrounds is hard”. Let’s demystify this notion once and for all with some actionable techniques you can use to improve your background designs. After all, skill building is a great way to kill art block. Let’s start with drawing an opening. It can be any enclosed shape. Below are a few such shapes that I’ve come up with.
Now, let’s take one of our enclosed shapes and plan our composition. In the image below, I’m establishing a horizon line first. Next, I’ll draw a vertical line that intersects the horizontal line. In each sketch, the vertical line is drawn perpendicular to the horizon line. Finally, the enclosed shape is placed at the intersection of the two lines.
Note that I’m deliberately avoiding placing the vertical and horizontal lines in the center. I’m looking for interesting angles that will make the composition more visually interesting.
Once we have established the location of the enclosed shape, we can utilize our knowledge of grids to establish the depth within our space. Here we can add walls, stairs or other structures (i.e. shelves) to flesh out the space.
Next, we can take one of our thumbnails and expand on it by way of a rough sketch. In this case, I’m drawing a kitchen.
There’s more to say on the subject of background layout, but that will come in a future blog post. As always, your comments are welcome!